Does Private Property Exist in America?

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by gatorplank, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. cjgator76
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    cjgator76 Well-Known Member

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    Private property normally stays "private" even if the taxes aren't paid. It's not a landlord/tenant relationship. The government doesn't take the taxpayer's property for itself, it sells the property to the highest bidder. At least that's how it works in Florida and many other states.
  2. 92gator
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    92gator Well-Known Member

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    Semantics, yes, but I think you missed the mark by just a bit, in what you chose to emphasize, in terms of semantics.

    First, the term 'property rights', is essentially redundant. Property is not the object to which it is commonly used to refer--e.g.--real estate--the word real estate refers to teh land and/or edifice upon it--while the world 'property' (real, in this case) refers to the rights over said real estate.

    Second, ownership refers to the degree of dominion one exercises (or can excersise) over a given object of property.

    Hence the term 'private property' refers to the degree of dominion over chattels and land excersibable by a private individual and/or entity.

    In context, it must naturally be measured against the corresponding degree of dominion excerciseable (or exercised) by a greater soverign, under which the chattel or land falls.

    ....but far more tellingly for our purposes, IMO, is to juxtapose what we consider 'private property [rights]', against those who have no--to almost no--such rights.

    e.g.--Cuba, North Korea, some of the less hospitable areas of Africa...

    Hence relatively speaking, depeding on what one compares it against--the concept of what we mean in the USA by 'private property rights', becomes very apparent, and appreciable (warts n all), when viewed against the true absence thereof.

    Or, as I like to say:

    I'm honored and priviledged to pay my taxes... because I can.
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  3. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    I agree here. Rights must be bestowed [edit: I should "recognized", rather than bestowed]. I think it is quite likely that some rights indeed predate what we might recognize as organized government, but if so, these rights were undoubtedly defended by social norms. There is a very interesting discussion of property rights here, where professor David Sshmidtz illustrates his point with an example of the bears fighting for territory.

    He says that even bears understand that the first bear to claim the territory is going to fight harder for the territory than the invader (which is broadly true in the ecology of territoriality). However, I think that your point stands that just because the invader may not choose to fight me for the territory doesn't imply that I have a recognized right to it. Instead, this was an economic calculation on the invader's part (in an evolutionary sense) factoring in the likely costs of my increased vigilance. In other words, force is still the overriding factor determining the outcome of the property dispute.
  4. 108
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    108 Premium Member

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    You can only truly own what you can protect

    And since the Gov is the entity that protects.....
  5. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. Thanks for the additions.
  6. wargunfan
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    wargunfan Well-Known Member

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    The State has an interest in keeping the property "owner" alive and paying taxes; hence the right to lethally defend life and property.
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  7. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    Like I said, we can technically move the tax burden off of property onto wealth or income or consumption, and end up with the same exact system. However, I think what you might really want is a situation where the government cannot take your property due to delinquent taxes, regardless of the source of the tax burden. (and more broadly, you might not want the threat of losing your house in a civil suit either) It appears that the US government can apply a lien to your house for failure to pay income tax, so effectively I'm not sure that this is any different in terms of strength of property ownership.
  8. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    Jeez, I hope that's not the reason.
  9. HallGator
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    Of all the taxes we pay the tax I dislike the most is tax on the place where I reside. I understand the need for taxes and mostly don't bitch much about them although I place taxes on residence in a different light. The ability to legally pay/payoff a place for years only to have it subject to being taken away for non payment of taxes sucks as far as I am concerned. Income tax, SS, sales tax, and the myriad amount of other ways government collects tax all take a back seat to this one from my viewpoint.
  10. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Also known as the Conspiracy Theory of Property Rights.
  11. HallGator
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    You can lose your home by not paying property taxes. They sell a tax certificate on unpaid taxes and if it is not paid the holder of the certificate can force a sell of the property on the open market.
  12. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    I think the main distinction to be made is what legal protections renters have (few) vs. owners (many) of residences, should you not fulfil certain legal or contractual obligations. Evicting a tennant is relatively easy compared to seizing someone's owned home.
  13. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    Right. My question was whether you could also lose your home for failure to pay income taxes, effectively eliminating the difference in penalty between the two? How long will the US gov't leave a lien on your home before taking it? It appears that the IRS at least claims the right to seize your property as well.

  14. HallGator
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    I'm not totally positive but I don't think they can seize the home you are living in for taxes. They can do so for criminal activity though I believe. I have a friend who has had government liens on his house for many, many years and he says it keeps accumulating and he can't do anything with the property other than upkeep and maintenance. Can't borrow money nor sell it without paying the liens.
  15. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, we now have three comparisons, which each demonstrate that US homeowners enjoy a relatively higher strength of ownership than their counterparts:

    1) A bunch of lawless bushmen in the Amazon
    2) Those living under the communist regime in North Korea
    3) US home renters

    At the very least, I think we can say that ownership is a relative condition, rather than all-or-none, and US homeowners are somewhere on the "strongest property rights" side of the spectrum.
  16. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Yeah, you don't get to keep living in your drug mansion.
  17. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    Ok, that is different. Would that same solution satisfy your issue with property taxes? Instead, change the penalties to perpetual liens and their credit effects, etc. but not throwing you out of your home?
  18. HallGator
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    I believe this would be preferable. When you, and your spouse is originally in the deal, die then I could see the heirs having to satisfy the lien or let it be sold to do so. I don't know how much of an impact that would have on tax collections because I would think most people would still want to keep their houses clear of any kind of lien.
  19. VAg8r1
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    VAg8r1 Well-Known Member

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    Property taxes have been around a very long time.
    A Brief History of Property Tax

    From the same source
  20. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I'd imagine it would be just as effective an incentive as taking the house in affluent neighborhoods. It might move the needle a bit more, but overtime the lien satisfaction from sales, etc. should take care of the shortfall.

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